For the eighth-straight season and 18th time in the 23-year history of the league, Kansas topped the men’s basketball Big 12 Preseason Poll, announced by the league office Friday. The Jayhawks received all of the possible nine first-place votes in 2018-19 for the fourth-consecutive season.
KU has captured 18 outright or shared Big 12 regular-season championships in the previous 22 campaigns. The program’s 14 consecutive, from 2005-present, and 61 overall conference titles are both NCAA records.
The Jayhawks will have a new look in 2018-19 with a younger and deeper team. Returning starters Udoka Azubuike and Lagerald Vick both averaged double figures last year with 13.0 and 12.1 points, respectively. Nine newcomers join the squad with six freshmen and three transfers who are eligible this season.
Kansas State was picked second in the preseason poll followed by West Virginia in third. TCU and Texas tied for fourth to round out the top five. Other placings were 6. Iowa State, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Baylor and 10. Oklahoma State.
Historically, in the previous 17 occurrences Kansas has been named the preseason favorite, the Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season on 15 occasions. This includes the first preseason poll in 1996-97 in which only a media poll was conducted.
The Big 12 led the nation in RPI four of the last five years. For the first time in Conference history, the Big 12 sent 90 percent of its men’s basketball teams to postseason play in 2018 with seven in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and two in the National Invitation Tournament. Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 while Kansas punched a ticket to the 2018 Final Four.
The Big 12 will preview 2018-19 with its annual media day, slated for Wednesday, October 24 at Sprint Center in Kansas City – site of the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. Live coverage will be available at Big12Sports.com and on the Conference’s official social media platforms.
2018-19 BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
Team (First-place votes) – Points
1. KANSAS (9)* – 81
2. Kansas State (1) – 72
3. West Virginia – 61
T4. TCU – 54
T4. Texas – 54
6. Iowa State – 41
7. Texas Tech – 36
8. Oklahoma – 21
9. Baylor – 20
10. Oklahoma State – 10